Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Suffer the Little Children

BACK in the Sixties, the ABC honoured its charter by producing quantities of genuinely educational material, of which the clip below is an example:

These days things are bit different. Rather than the Why Is It So? approach and its progression from hypothesis to experiment, observation and conclusion, the order has been reversed. Now the ABC's resident hip science dude begins with a finding and assembles the evidence to make it stand up. If a few facts get mangled in the process, so be it. And if a bit of sensationalism is required to sell the line, no worries; the planet's future is at stake, after all. The important thing is not to make children understand, it is to make them believe.

Make no mistake, Julius Sumner Miller and Ruben "The Surfing Scientist" Meerman are directly comparable in the roles the ABC of then and now have assigned them.  Isn't that sad.

UPDATE: Not entirely comparable, actually. It is inconceivable Julius Sumner Miller would have put his name to this remark:


  1. It used to be that a pronouncement of a professor was regarded with much solemnity. Now, it is just as likely to be regarded as the cause of much laughter.

    1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.November 22, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Yep, sorry Prof, but the professorial coinage has been debased.

      However, as you regularly demononstrate here, your classical foundational expertise in Etruscan Semiotics can still cut it, and cut it many ways.

      You never fail to ask "Why is it so?". Keep flying that flag, Prof.

  2. Exited? This Reuben Meerman is referring to his excrement? Or is he just underlining his imprecision and lack of standards and that he cannot spell? An embarrassment to the name of 'scientist'.

  3. The battalion of faux scientists gets very excited, bewildered and grumpy when it's asked (as it should be asked), "Is there any evidence which does not support your hypothesis?".

    An answer in the negative implies they have examined every piece of data in existance, done every controlled experiment possible with perfection, had 100% of the results supporting the hypothesis, and examined every last piece of literature.

    The Professor (or both of them) well highlights the present fraud; cherry pick the data to "prove" (no scientist worth his salt ever uses that term) the hypothesis.

    And we all know Cherry Farm Central is at the CRU, Univ. of East Anglia.

    1. People who are not from the UK might think that all UK universities are the same. They are not, and the University of East Anglia is one of the "nots". The person who decided to set up the CRU there was probably having a joke on someone.

      OK. Sorry to the students who have bet their lives on the place. Don't worry. If you work hard, you'll get ahead somehow.


  4. Well, the ABC bloke said it'd fall to the LEFT. Prophesy? As has been remarked by many, the LEFT has made its long march through the universities to where we are now. Is there a remedy? When the LEFT gets into power in any public organization, they will only take on their own ilk-gays, women and LEFT wing thinkers.

    But I did enjoy Sumner Miller. A great instructor!

  5. Maybe he should be "exited!" (sic) from his job at the ABC.

  6. Exited!
    What exited? The poop?

  7. Professor, I'm older enough to remember Julius Sumner Miller and his remarkable creative and thought provoking TV shows. What a comparison they were to the drivel now served up by the ABC.

    Readers should be also reminded to watch last weeks Catalyst program called "Taking our Temperature" available here:

    Its proof positive that the ABC has lost its marbles and needs the good professor Sumner Miller reincarnated back to guide the gullible back to sanity. (My favourite bits were the segue's to a weatherman showing a big map of Australia covered in red crayon to signify vast areas of nasty global warming.)

    Tony Abbott take note: The ABC and its entire collective of wastrels, vagabonds and retards should be closed down and sold off to the highest bidder. We have moved on.

    1. You are lucky. I came here in 1976, too late for Julius Sumner Miller's best years. I saw him in ads and I wondered what was going on. Then I think I saw him on Hey Hey and I got it. Brilliant man. He explained stuff from first principles, which is the only way to learn and understand physics.

    2. PhillipGeorge(c)2012November 22, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      First Principles - play it again Sam.

      Attacking Santos and Maher on method is a waste of time.

      The bigger [much bigger] questions are...

      1. How does a real green house work?

      2. What are the actual changes in thermal capacity?

      3. What are the real changes in spectral opacity?

      4. What are the real changes in thermal inertia?

      5. Does a "Green House Gas" even exist?

      6. Can cloud cover, the real green house analogue, be predicted accurately

      Ans: 1. With a physical barrier [glass or plastic]
      2. Undetectable
      3. Detectable but effects immeasurably small
      4. Undetectable
      5. No
      6. No

      In my humble brag opinion - your thought?

  8. It gets much worse than that. See Quadrant on the brain washing at Ballarat Museum.

  9. I used to love watching Dr Sumner-Miller.

    Why is it so?

  10. I used to like JSM, but I felt he sold out with the Cadbury chocolate ads, especially using his "why is it so?" catch phrase as part of the spiel.

  11. Things have gone so badly downhill that the summit is no longer visible. Let the ABC remain as a regional radio broadcaster only (suitably moderated), sell the rest.

  12. Nice of the Prof to recommend Latin in schools, but the roots of 'asymmetric' are actually Greek. IF ONLY that was all we had to quibble about with today's 'teachers'!

  13. Unmasked at last!!
    The elusive Professor Bunyip is none other than Professor Julius Sumner Miller!

    Well ..... have you ever seen them in a room together?
    Exactly my point!

    Professor Lion

  14. We are constantly asked by Arts Graduates to "respect the science"of climate change.
    Why is it so, Prof?

  15. I used to love all those programs - "Lens on Lilliput" was another. I don't agree with David re: the JSM sell out to big chocolate. I remember the finger wagging brigade got up JSM and he replied in his inimitable gruff manner that chocolate was a healthy carbohydrate rich food that would be fine as part of a balanced diet.

  16. Gosh, even Corky was looking in half good nick back then

  17. I have a very fond memory of meeting the good Professor at the Flemington Markets when I was wee lad in high school - working with dad on a smallgoods stall. I mentioned to him 1 episode where the Professor removed a cap on bottle with a vacuum & there was a loud 'pop' he said "this is the vaccum rushing out isn't it?" and each of the students on stage except the last said "yes Professor" and he said "Just becasue a Professor says something doen't mean it is true." Words I have never forgotton. I then listened intently as he spoke with my Father (semi literate Master Smallgoodsmaker) about why he couldn't get a low fat salami(JSP had just had his 1st or 2nd heart attack - and obviously he liked salami). The 2 spoke for at least half an hour, and never once did I get the feeling he was talking down to dad !